France sends aid to Syrian refugees in Jordan
A French cargo plane bearing 80 tonnes of medical supplies and equipment touched down in Jordan on Saturday, where tens of thousands of refugees have fled across the border since the outbreak of the Syrian war.
AFP - A French cargo plane carrying tonnes of aid supplies and medical equipment for Syrian refugees landed Saturday in Jordan for tens of thousands of Syrians who fled their country's violence.
The Antonov aircraft is carrying 80 tonnes of medical and support equipment and more French supplies destined for Syrian refugees will be flown to Jordan soon, the head of the operation, Colonel Yannick Rio, said.
"Additional material will be transported to Jordan in the following days. In total, 200 tonnes of medical and supply equipment will be deployed in the future," Rio told reporters at the Marka military airport in Amman.
He said an A310 airliner carrying 85 medical and support staff, and seven tonnes of medical equipment arrived in Jordan on Thursday.
Colonel Gerard Dosseh, head doctor, said "a surgical team, a medical centre and an emergency vaccination centre" have been dispatched.
The medical team can carry out up to 10 operations a day and admit up to 20 patients.
"All supplies and equipment will leave for the Zaatari refugee camp on Sunday morning," Sabine Riverol, member of the aid staff, told AFP
The UN-administered desert camp, outside the northern city of Mafraq across the border from Syria, has so far taken in 6,000 refugees.
"Jordanian medical services are no longer able to respond to the increasing needs (of refugees), and so this is an effort of international solidarity," said French Ambassador to Amman Corinne Breuze.
"It is a message of solidarity with the Syrian people, and particularly with the victims of the violence orchestrated by the regime of Damascus. And it is also a message of support to Jordan, this neighbouring country that has received an increasing number of refugees during the past weeks."
Jordan is hosting more than 150,000 Syrians, around 46,000 of whom are UN-registered. It says limited resources hamper its ability to cope with the crisis, despite a recent $100-million grant from the United States to help accommodate the refugees.
President Francois Hollande's office announced the deployment on Monday, saying the decision was made with the full consent of Jordanian authorities.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is to visit Jordan on August 15.